Posted by La Gal (Los Angeles, Ca, Usa) on 11/20/2011
I stumbled across this site while researching BV. I have had this in the past, but it was easily cured with a common antibiotic gel that everyone seems to have been prescribed here. I have a long history with yeast infections, however, and while I have not had one in several years, I did have one following my last menstrual cycle. I am tolerant to the OTC meds, so was prescribed another well known yeast cream, only available by prescription; unfortunately, by day 5, I was in terrible pelvic pain and saw my ob/gyn at a major research university. It was determined that I had both bacterial vaginosis and yeast internally, as well as an extensive external yeast infection. I have never had such a thing before. The odd thing is that I do not have the odor that so many of these posts mention. I was concerned, however, after my consult with my doctor, about some of the natural remedies that are being done out of desperation here and wanted to share what I was told, in the hope that it helps someone.
I was prescribed: 600 mg of Boric Acid Vaginal Suppositories, one inserted at bedtime for 7-14 days; a vaginal-only Lactobacillus capsule, to be taken orally for 30 days; an external antifungal and steroid combination ointment to be used twice a day for 14 days. I am vastly improved after one week.
This regimen was prescribed by my doctor based on the following:
The antibiotic, oral or vaginal will cause a yeast infection in most women, setting up a vicious cycle. The cure rate of the antibiotic is not 100%, therefore, what returns not a new infection, it's the same one, usually plus yeast.
This is generally caused by an overall imbalance in the ph of the vaginal vault. The only clinically proven, and studied way to correct that is via 600mg of boric acid administered once per day, vaginally for 7-14 days. Many women need to administer one capsule monthly as well just before or after their period ends. This creates the ideal acidic environment and serves as an antiseptic for the bacterial overgrowth. Initial treatment does not work in only three days, unfortunately, and must be continued for 7-14 days--and should be administered at night right before laying down or it will pop out! No more than one capsule is required. Overkill is bad. Douching with an acidic solution may "seem" like a good alternative, but it also washes out the fluids that are trying to regrow and ahere to the walls. Boric acid does not do that, but it does take a while. I admit that.
Because with both BV and yeast, the vagina is in an alkaline state and there is an undergrowth of Lactobacillus, the beneficial flora that migrates from the intestinal tract (yes, that is how it gets there) to the vagina. It is not just any Lactobacilli however--the majority of the supplements, yogurts, kefirs, etc. Are designed to adhere to the gut. Therefore they do not ever migrate to the vagina. Inserting capsules or yogurt directly into the vagina has been studied and shown no effect as the bacteria do not adhere to the vagina. Neither does soaking a tampon in yogurt, although the coolness of the yogurt may provide some temporary comfort. They are foreign bacteria to the vagina and will cause inflammation. In fact, there is actually another vaginosis caused by an overgrowth of Lactobacillus, which mimics many of the symptoms described here. I just wanted to point that out.
There are two strains that have been clinically isolated as naturally occuring in the vagina, and should be taken orally. Within 7 days, these strains will be present in your vagina and doing their job: Lactobacillus rhamnosus, GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri, RC-14. The are available under a brand name, mentioned in the BV forum quite frequently and are available internationally.
Douching: I occasionally douched with a mild vinegar and water douche (not scent of May or anything like that) and seriously got yelled at by my gyn. I am talking about 4 times a year at most. Anyway, I did my research on the hydrogen peroxide and the apple cider and the baking soda, etc. Since it was recommended here. What I found was that: baking soda neutralizes acid--think about it! You can drink it as an antiacid so imagine what it does if you are trying to build an acidic environment? It neutralizes it--it's actually used in the case of an overgrowth of Lactobacillus!!! Hydrogen Perioxide is a natural byproduct of Lactobacillus, so why tamper with that? I have seen a quite a bit on the Internet though that both it and Apple Cider Vinegar are successful--I personally don't plan to try them myself since the Boric Acid and vaginal-specific Lactobacillus worked, but if they are not harming you and work for you, I didn't see anything wrong with them, provided they aren't overused. I do know that too much Hydrogen Peroxide can be damaging to skin, and if you have bleeding or fissures in your vagina, I would skip that myself.
Feminine hygiene: I was lectured on this too! I use tampons during my mentrual period and was told that was preferred (I used a VERY common cotton brand). What I was told to immediately stop using was another VERY common brand of super absorbant pads and panty liners or any pad or panty liner that use anything such as dry-weave technology. Apparently those are breeding grounds for bacteria. Who knew? So I switched to an all natural brand, made with cotton, ph balanced, not as thin and comfy--but goodness, it was hard to find anything that was not scented, doused with baking soda, or made from some dry weave type fabric.
Washing: This was crazy. I have always used a special feminine wash, unscented, thinking that it was better than shower gel or soap. I don't shave (I wax) and I keep myself very clean. My doctor actually said to me, "It's you clean ones I have the most problems with. " I have now been instructed to wash my labia with only water and my clean fingertips in the shower. I've been doing that, but really, I don't feel clean. I'm so scared of this coming back though that I am following her instructions to the T.
Vitamins: I was not given any special diet rules. I eat healthy and am fit anyway. I do normally take folic acid, biotin, vitamin c, vitamin d, but added B12 based on what I read here. We'll see if that helps my immune system rebuild.
Anyway, thank you all so much for sharing your stories. It was so helpful to not feel alone in this, and I hope that some or any of what I shared is helpful to you. I feel so badly that so many are suffering, that I just wanted to put out some of what I found, was told, and researched. Best wishes for us all to have happy, healthy vaginas!!!